Is there really such a thing as a Palestinian?
To answer that question, Dr. David Reagan and I on our television program Christ in Prophecy invited Jim Fletcher, the founder and director of a ministry in Arkansas called Prophecy Matters. Jim has been an author and book editor for many years, and when in the 1990’s took his first trip to Israel to do some book research, he became hooked on the nation and people. Jim is now a strong advocate for Israel.
Stolen Land Myth
Nathan Jones: Jim, you hear from Palestinians and some Christian leaders that Israel stole the land that they now have. Is there any truth to that?
Jim Fletcher: No, there really isn’t. In fact, Jews have been purchasing land from Arab owners for decades prior to the establishment of the state.
Nathan Jones: They historically got swindled in the process, too.
Jim Fletcher: The UN in 1947 voted to partition Palestine. A key plot point in this is that the Mandate Palestine included what is today Jordan. So, the Jews took the deal, but the Arabs rejected it outright, and now we have this Palestinian situation today.
Dr. Reagan: That’s really one of the biggest lies told about Israel today — that they stole the land. First of all, it belongs to them forever. The Bible makes it very clear that God gave it to them. He said it was an eternal covenant. There’s no ands, ifs, or buts about it. It was not conditional. The promise was unconditional. The Holy Land belongs to the Jews forever.
When the Jews began to come back in the early 1900’s, there were only 40,000 of them in all of Israel. They came back to a land that nobody wanted. It was filled with malaria-infested swamplands. Almost all the trees had been cut down. There were only 17,000 trees left in the whole country. The Arabs laughed all the way to the bank as they sold them this land at exorbitant prices.
Also at that time, Arabs were not Palestinians. If you had asked an Arab living in Israel in 1900 what he was, he would have said he was a Syrian. The whole idea that “there was a Palestinian state before the Jews came back in and took all the land away from them” is a myth. There wasn’t a Palestinian state at that time.
Nathan Jones: That would mean then that there’s no such thing as a Palestinian at all, right?
Jim Fletcher: Yes. You’re right. The nationality of there being a Palestinian is a myth. The Palestinians of today identify as such primarily after the Six Day War. When the Arabs realized they couldn’t defeat Israel on the battlefield, they switched to political propaganda. The invention of the Palestinians has served them very well.
Another fact is that the Jews in 1948 took what in essence was only half of the land they have today because it was the best deal they could get. And still, the Arabs rejected the deal outright.
Dr. Reagan: What people need to realize is that in 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was issued, the British spoke of making Palestine a homeland for the Jews. At that time Palestine, as you pointed out, was all of Jordan and Israel. But, in 1921, the British saw the handwriting on the wall. They were discovering oil all over the place and they decided they needed to curry the favor of the Arabs. So, they gave two-thirds of what they had promised the Jews to the Arabs.
In truth, there is a Palestinian state, and it’s called Jordan. 75% of the people who live there are Palestinians. The king, who is from Saudi Arabia, runs around with Bedouin guards because he’s scared to death of his own people. So, there is a Palestinian state, and yet they keep saying, “We need a Palestinian state.”
All that was left for Israel was a little sliver of land about 10,000 square miles in length, but then in 1947 the United Nations divided that in half. The Jews were doubled crossed twice, but still they said, “Okay, we’ll accept it.” On that day when they declared the existence of Israel — May 14, 1948 — the Palestinians could have declared the existence of their state. They could have had a second state ever since that time, right?
Jim Fletcher: They absolutely could have. What people don’t realize is that there are 22 Arab states in the Middle East, all created out of artificial borders by the Western powers.
The problem in the Middle East is Arab rejectionism of the Jewish state. The single Jewish state that as Yasser Arafat said, “They want to push into the sea.”
Dr. Reagan: Exactly! Their real goal is not the establishment of a second Palestinian state, but the utter annihilation of Israel.
In the fourth part of our series on the importance of Israel, Jim Fletcher will explain how indefensible Israel would be to go back to the pre-1967 borders.